Mont Blanc - The Huts
Once you have decided which route to climb on Mont Blanc the next issue is booking the huts. This can sometimes feel as difficult as climbing the mountain! Mont Blanc can be a victim of its own popularity! However all the huts are contactable by telephone and making a reservation in advance is essential.
If you would rather avoid the busy huts during the summer months, please see our discussion below on alternative strategies for climbing the mountain without using refuges at all.
Please find a summary of information below regarding most of the relevant huts used to climb Mont Blanc.
Using (Or Avoiding) the Huts on Mont Blanc
We find some folk do not warm to the 'social' (sometime rammed) atmosphere of huts and sharing a bed with 12 other climbers! Occasionally we are also unable to make reservations as the relevant huts are already fully booked. What to do in this situation? Here are a few suggestions...
- Book with a mountain guiding company and let them arrange the hut bookings on your behalf.
- Climb Mont Blanc via an alternative route. The vast majority of 'traffic' on Mont Blanc is associated with the French side of the mountain and mainly the Gouter and Trois Monts routes. I have traversed the Aiguille du Bionassay on more than one occassion in complete solitude and then joined the crowds of the normal route high up to reach the summit. If they are in condition, the routes from the Italian side (Gonella Hut) and North Ridge of the Dome du Gouter (Grands Mulets Hut) are both very good and much quieter than the French 'Voies Normales'
- Avoid the huts completely - by camping. There is an official 'campsite' area, with toilets, near to the refuge Tete Rousse. Camping is permitted here for a short stay. Camping is not allowed at the Gouter Hut or at the Col du Midi although there are invariably tents there in summer. Camping adds flexibility to the ascent and takes away the pressure of conforming to hut bookings. It is also cheaper and, at the Tete Rousse site, you could cook for yourselves or have dinner at the hut. However the additional pack weight is considerable. Carrying tent, sleeping bag, roll mat, stove, food and fuel is all heavy and will make the approach trek much tougher. Taking a tent to camp higher up the mountain is neither recommended or allowed. An 'expedition' pack like this is very unwieldy and slow on the more technical ground approaching the Gouter Hut and, once fit and acclimatised, a summit attempt can be made from a Base Camp at the Tete Rousse.
- To get the hut bookings you are after - plan well in advance (the winter before the summer of the climb) so reservations can be made early in the season.
- Climb Mont Blanc in the 'off season' outside the high summer months. Most, not all of the huts on Mont Blanc are owned by the Club Alpin Francais (CAF) and when they are not officially open (i.e with a guardian and restaurant service) always have a 'winter room' that can be accessed for shelter. These usually contain beds, blankets and pots and pans. They sometimes also have a stove with gas and occasionally wood burning stove. Details should be checked in advance with the local guides buruea / mountain office to clarify the status of the winter room before leaving so the correct equipment can be taken.
Along with the Gouter and Cosmiques this is one of the big three huts on Mont Blanc. In good high summer conditions the Tete Rousse can be easily approached in a couple of hours rough walking from the top of the tramway du Mont Blanc. However when the mountain is snowy outside the summer months, and the train / lifts are closed the approach is from Bionnay or Les Houches and is long and tough taking some steep terrain.
- Open 1st June towards the end of September 2013
- Gardienne : Mme Tuveri Patricia
- Reservations online at:
- Tel refuge direct - 04 50 58 24 97
TARIFS 2013 :
- Nuitée plein tarif : 45.40 €
- Nuitée groupe de plus de 8 personnes : 36.40 €
- Nuitée CAF/ réciprocité ou GUIDE : 22.90 €
- Nuitée GUIDE CAF SNGM : 0.40 €
- Nuitée moins de 25 ans CAF : 11.65 €
- Repas du soir : 24 €
- Petit-déjeuner : 9 €
A brand new hut will be opening in the summer of 2013. All the information and booking is on the CAF Gouter Hut website page. The Gouter Hut is another 2 hours above the Tete Rousse and the approach includes the crossing of the Grand Couloir and a lot of rough / rocky and mixed scrambling terrain. Whilst this has fixed cables in places the route finding needs care as straying off the route invariably means going on to loose ground with the danger of knocking rocks in to the Grand Couloir endangering teams below.
Situated in an impressive location above the Col du Midi and at the foot of Mont Blanc du Tacul and the Trois Mont route on Mont Blanc. The hut has a short but very high mountain / glacial approach from the Aiguille du Midi station including the famous 'Midi Snow Arete'. The Cosmiques is a private hut open throughout much of the summer, early autumn and late winter in to spring. When closed there is no winter room but the nearby 'Abri Simond' Bivi Hut' should be open (check in advance).
Website info for Cosmiques Hut
Situated on a rocky outcrop surrounded by immense tumbling glaciers this hut certainly has an atmospheric location! It is usually accessed from the Plan de l'Aiguille mid station on the Aiguille du Midi cablecar. Now it is most often used for Ski Mont Blanc ascents due to the objective danges from the long glacial 'Plateaus' route. The North Ridge of the Dome du Gouter route however is close to this hut and this can provide a good early summer route also.
All hut details on the CAF website - Grand Mulets Hut .
This impressive new hut is situated above the huge Glaciers Miage and Dome and provides the base camp for the expedition up Mont Blanc from Italy. Gonella Hut website.
A lovely tiny hut situated on the incredibly atmospheric Col de Miage on the French Italian border. This is a Club Alpine Francais Hut which has a
guardian service (Manon) during good weather in the summer months. The approach via any route is long although a taxi can be taken from the Contamines Valley to access the Chalets de Miage. From here a days strenuous walk and then rough scramble accesses the hut which provides an excellent base for traversing the Aiguille du Bionassay.
This is an emergency hut only and should not to be used as another hut on the ascent of Mont Blanc via the normal route. The hut is very basic and cold but does have an emergency phone and toilet and provides an opportunity to get out of the weather if caught high on the mountain in a storm.